[Wildcat Online: Arts] [ad info]





Affordable flicks are still worth seeing


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Photo courtesy of MGM Pictures Award winning? Perhaps not. Entertaining? Sure, for a buck or two. Thomas Crown, played by Pierce Brosnan, heats things up with Rene Russo in this thriller still playing in some theaters across Tucson.

By Casey Dexter
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 19, 1999
Talk about this story

In this week before the official start of the Christmas season - and the start of the Christmas blockbusters - there remains a small window of opportunity to see some of the less popular movies from the summer that may have been missed but were worth a look. For example, at the GKC cinemas 4690 N. Oracle Road, "Inspector Gadget" and "The Thomas Crown Affair" still play nightly.

Although "Inspector Gadget," played poorly in the box office, it was a genuinely funny movie. It may not have appealed to the new generation of Pok­mon devotees, but to the old Saturday morning cartoon set, "Gadget" was a great trip down memory lane.

Matthew Broderick starred as Gadget and although he was a little more dashing than the cartoon inspector, Gadget was still bumbling as always. It was difficult to see him as a live-action figure but Broderick's turn as the cartoon hero was endearing nonetheless.

The film makers had to make some changes to fit a live-action, Hollywood version of the show. For one thing, the mysterious Dr. Claw had to reveal his face to the camera - in the wonderfully campy visage of Rupert Everett. The ever-present Penny and Brain were less helpful than on television. And Gadget had a love interest in the film - something unheard of on the show.

But in all honesty, the entire film was made as an homage to the classic "Inspector Gadget." There were tons of in-jokes, wonderful casting choices (they found an actor who actually looks like all those identical, goofy-faced Claw henchmen) and tons of all the familiar "go-go gadget" items.

Perhaps "Inspector Gadget" wasn't worth the money to see in the summer among all the blockbusters, but now that it's in the dollar theaters, it definitely deserves a shot.

Similarly, "The Thomas Crown Affair" was not the biggest draw to come out of the summer of "The Phantom Menace," but it is extremely fun to watch.

"Thomas Crown" is pure eye candy - beautiful people flirting with each other, having wild sex on stairs, prancing around on tropical islands and dressing up for fancy balls all to a funky, minimalistic soundtrack.

Yes, the plot is silly, but that has to be expected. Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo obviously had a good time making this movie - and it's really hard to not catch that "devil may care" feeling from them. They know this is not an Academy Award-winning movie so they don't attempt to make it serious. As long as the audience knows that that is the attitude to have going in, it is easy to simply sit back and enjoy the decadence.

"Thomas Crown" plays like a child's make-believe story, like they came up with this on the jungle gym one afternoon. But that's why it's good. It's an adult fantasy with pretty pictures and clever sequences.

Both "Inspector Gadget" and "The Thomas Crown Affair" are silly, fun movies. They're not going to win any awards or change lives or even make any money. But for a cheap night out, there's a lot worse things to get stuck doing in Tucson.

[end content]
[ad info]